Now more than ever, we are asking more of our home as we move forward amidst the pandemic. Not only is our living environment a place of shelter and refuge, but it needs to serve as a domain for a productive work life, functional classroom, supportive fitness zone, family-friendly entertainment area and 24/7 restaurant.
With that in mind, homeowners and new buyers are driving a myriad of 2021 trends that the architecture and design community are responding to at a record level.
Further fueling this surge is the fact that interest rates are historically low, discretionary funds that were originally earmarked for family vacations and entertainment are being re-allocated for home improvements, and multi-generational living, which is more common now, requires more space.
So which design projects are top-of-mind for new and existing homeowners this year?
We are seeing four key trends that will continue in 2021: a pent up desire to remodel aging kitchens and bathrooms (say goodbye to beige-a-licious finishes), heightened interest in adding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) for extended family, a big demand for touchless and smart technology, particularly in the kitchen and bath, and a willingness to increase budgets to create inviting outdoor entertaining areas, as well as home offices.
And with WFH (work from home) here to stay, many working homeowners are re-thinking the once-popular “open concept” floor plan and requesting more dedicated areas for remote work and study. Ambient noise, lack of privacy and the need to concentrate are the primary issues facing working parents in particular when trying to conduct business in a shared, open living area such as the kitchen island or dining area. I think we can all agree the novelty of corporate Zoom calls with kids pirouetting in the background has worn off and everyone is ready to get down to business. Separately.
Also of note when it comes interior layouts, is the considerable interest in maximum storage particularly in the kitchen.
Pantries are having “a moment” as any Instagram user will attest as passionate organizers share their oh-so clever practices for beautifully storing their bulk shopping of dry and canned goods. And industry manufacturer Rev-A-Shelf leads the way as the go-to-source for maximizing every inch of cabinet and closet interiors with its space-saving and unique storage solutions.
Vertical pantry pullouts, which come in a variety of heights and widths, are an ideal solution for maximizing kitchen storage and efficiency. Photo: Rev-A-Shelf
The need for increased storage and receiving contact-free deliveries is also spurring homeowner interest in designing mudrooms where packages, backpacks and clothing can be dropped off before entering the home thus reducing the possibility of spreading germs.
Additionally, designing inviting powder rooms off the main house entry is taking on more significance as a first-stop space to disinfect prior to entering.
This desire for minimizing germs is also increasing touchless tech amenities buyers want in their homes.
In the higher-end of the market, touchless technology luxuries that have transitioned from the world of hospitality into everyday living will continue to be on-trend. These include such conveniences as voice-activated kitchen and bath faucets, toilets that flush at the wave of a hand, “smart” shower systems that offer presets for sound, water and steam, as well as keyless entry systems and motorized shades, to name a few.
Cleanliness is also top-of-mind for homeowners when it comes to selecting new interior finishes for the kitchen or bath, as well as durability as we disinfect more often. Industry manufacturers such as Dekton, Caesarstone and Silestone all offer pleasing color palettes in high-performance, anti-microbial finishes for countertops, while large-format porcelain tile, designed in a variety of textures and colors, will remain an attractive choice for flooring.
Also contributing to creating healthy interiors is the growing popularity of Biophilia.
This architectural practice focuses on closely connecting occupants to nature which has been shown to positively affect one’s cognition, concentration and psychological well-being. This is accomplished by thoughtfully addressing a building’s quality and quantity of natural light, improving air circulation and incorporating live plants and trees as humans innately seek connections with nature.
Adding real plants and fresh flowers in our client's newly-designed master bedroom helped create a relaxing and calming atmosphere. Photo: Robert Morning Photography
And this longing to be closer to the outdoors and live healthier is also witnessed in an increased enthusiasm for growing fresh produce, herbs and micro-greens with indoor gardening appliances. Under cabinet gardening units such as Urban Cultivator allow homeowners to reduce trips to the grocery store and benefit from year-round, automated indoor gardening. And what cook wouldn’t love that?
Speaking of the outdoors, alfresco entertaining spaces that include dining areas will continue to be a favored project for both homeowners, as well as corporate property owners, who strive to maintain and foster personal connection during these changing times.
And whether outside or in, spaces will take their cue from the fashion industry which predicts cheerful color palettes that are uplifting and energetic to chart our path forward in 2021 and put a smile on our face.
Gail E. Jamentz, Principal of Soul Interiors Design, proudly serves the communities of Pasadena, San Marino, La Cañada Flintridge, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Altadena, Glendale, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Palm Desert, and Palm Springs.